Accrue has two common definitions:
- The accumulation of interest, income, or expenses.
- When a legal cause of action or legal claim comes into existence.
- The U.S. Supreme Court in Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007), stated that a claim accrues “when the plaintiff has a complete and present cause of action.” The term often comes up in the context of statutes of limitations for tort claims. For example, California Government Code § 911.2 states, “[a] claim relating to a cause of action for death or for injury to person or to personal property for growing crops shall be presented . . . not later than six months after the accrual of the cause of action.”
- In the context of bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court must consider whether the debtor’s claim accrued, thereby making it an asset of the debtor’s estate.
[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]